I Guess Customer Service is Service. Duh.

A short while ago,  I wrote about how I felt God was sending me a message that I should be using my spiritual gifts to serve others, but I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be doing.  You can read that post here:  How Can I Use my Gifts to Better Serve God and Others?

I ended that post by saying that I was anxious to find out what lessons I would learn on my journey.  Well, the journey did not take me where I expected.

Soooo . . . I had met with the Lead Pastor at our church, who introduced me to the Outreach Pastor.  We talked about my talents and interests.  A Sunday or two later, I found myself helping with Pre-K Kids’ Church.  On the inside, I was less than enthusiastic about this.  On the outside, I tried to make it seem like I was enjoying myself.

I’ve taught Sunday school in the past, and I just don’t enjoy it that much.  It’s a myth that if you’re female and you have young children, you must love working with all children.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do like kids.  As I communicated to the Children’s Director, there’s just something about that environment I find very draining.  I’m willing to fill in temporarily, but it’s not something I’m interested in doing every week.

The church also contacted me about a weekly women’s Bible Study, potentially helping the older kids with their weekly production, and helping with the Kids’ Church registration desk.

In addition, I just got a promotion at work that requires me to work an extra hour per day.  Besides being less than a month back into the school year, my daughter started weekly dance class again.  I’ve also decided to possibly pursue another degree, related to my promotion.  I have a full plate.

Long story short, I decided to say “No” to Kids’ Church and helping with the older kids’ production. I have committed to a six week Women’s Bible Study, which meets weekly, and working at the registration desk for Kids’ Church every six weeks.  I worked at the registration desk for the first time last Sunday, and I really liked it a lot.  I figured out, it was because it was a lot like my old Customer Service job, so it came pretty naturally.

I wrote an article a year ago where I talked about how I developed a talent or a skill in coaching and managing others (Is it a Talent or a Skill?  Does it Matter?) in my job in Customer Service.  I didn’t focus on what I had learned when serving customers, and training others to serve customers.  Frankly, I learned a ton, and matured a great deal too.  I recently started to realize that my ability to not take things personally came, at least in part, from dealing with upset customers.  This is a skill I use constantly, and had attributed it to the tools I had found in learning to overcome anxiety.  I hadn’t been giving the Customer Service experience nearly enough credit.

Even funnier, of all the gifts I listed in my recent article, when I was trying to figure out how I should be serving, not once did Customer Service come to my mind.  I took a really round about way to get to the spot where I’m supposed to be helping right now.  I enjoy doing it, and the time commitment fits perfectly with all of my responsibilities.  I really like the Children’s Director, who is training me.  That could be the icing on the cake – I may even make a new friend.

 

 

Can I Love the Scale?

Ummmm . . . probably not.  I’m hoping I’ll like it a little more tomorrow.  Maybe just hating it less is more realistic.  Saturday morning is my weekly time to weigh and record my weekly weight, compare to the previous week, etc.

Lately, it’s usually been pretty disappointing . . . frustrating . . . depressing.

I’ve done a few things this week that I’m hoping will change the trajectory of my weight.  I’ve had some successes and some failures, but I have started moving more, drinking more water, and eating less junk.  I am hopeful that I will weigh slightly less tomorrow than I did last Saturday.  Regardless of the scale, I feel I am moving in the direction of improved health.

I’ve also started tracking my calories, exercise (including stretching) and water intake.  While I haven’t been perfect at it this week, I certainly improved over previous weeks.  I am definitely paying more attention to all of these things.  So, I decided to develop a tracker.  I guess I’m old school.  I still use a Franklin Classic planner.  In fact, I just bought a Franklin hole punch.  Old school, odd ball, dinosaur.  Don’t care.  I’ve used electronic planners, my phone, etc.  I find the Franklin works the best for me.  Anyway, I decided to put two trackers per sheet so I can cut them in half and put one in my planner for each day.  It’s basic – not pretty.

Here’s a snapshot of my journal page.  I’m also attaching it (two on one sheet) as a Word document, so you can edit however you like.  Fitness Journal

Stay tuned for updates on my progress!

Update:  I am down 2 lbs. since last Saturday.  My hard work paid off – but it really was hard work!

 

Palmer Candy Giveaway!

 My kids would love it if I won this!

Sponsored By: Palmer

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner will receive:

A variety of Palmer candy shown in the giveaway image!

Palmer’s products don’t just look great; for Palmer, taste and quality are equally important – from creamy, smooth milk chocolate and famous crunchy Double Crisp to delicious filled candies of all shapes. Palmer offers a wide assortment of sweet candy treats for holidays, celebrations and every day enjoyment.

Open to US entrants only and must be 18+ to enter.
Giveaway Dates ~ 9/12 10:00 PM EST through 9/27 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

I Hate the Scale

I know I’m not alone in my struggle to get in shape.  The struggle just keeps getting harder as I get older.  It is soooo frustrating!  I’m fairly active in my daily life, with two young kids.  I’ve cut out the good stuff . . . . donuts and candy, even potato chips, for the most part.  I hardly drink soda and I’ve tried to increase my water intake.  But, the numbers on the scale just keep going up.  I weigh more right now than I ever have, other than when I was pregnant.

I gained so much weight, in such a short period of time recently, that I became convinced there was something wrong with my scale.  So, I bought a new one.  Sadly, there was nothing wrong with the first scale.  Problem not solved.

So, I guess it’s time to get serious . . . seriously kicking and screaming.  I figure one of the ways to get serious is with some accountability.  How can you be more accountable than announcing your plans to the fine people who read the internet?  Of course, it is totally within my power to delete this post at any time.  But, my intentions are good at this moment.

I want to lose approximately 35 lbs.  But, I’m realizing that I really need to get in better shape, not just lose weight.

I’m going to make a few first steps.  For one, I’m going to report my progress here.  Probably not every week, as I think that could get boring for readers – but periodically.  I’m going to participate in the 28 Day Fitness Challenge, presented by “The Multitasking Mom”.  Check it out if you’re interested:  28 Day Challenge.  I’m going to drink at least 64 oz. of water per day.  I’m going to track my calorie intake.

I have stretches that help me to stay more active by relieving some pain.  Besides, everyone knows that stretching is supposed to help blood flow and overall health.  So, I’m going to commit to doing those every day.

Like I said – I know I’m not alone here!  Please share in the comments what has worked for you to get in better shape, lose weight and improve your health.

Pop Up Beach Tent – OutdoorsmanLab

This would have been great for our beach trip last July!

Sponsored By: OutdoorsmanLab

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

3 Winners will receive:

An OutdoorsmanLab Automatic Pop Up Beach Tent w/ Carrying Bag ($49.99 RV)! A $149.97 TRV!

OutdoorsmanLab is founded with a scientific spirit and a lofty mission: to offer innovative, well-made, and high performance outdoor gear at a revolutionary price.

Open to US entrants only and must be 18+ to enter.
Giveaway Dates ~ 9/10 12:01 AM EST through 9/30 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Win a Plasma Car!

I want one!  I wish they made them for grown-ups!

Sponsored By: PlasmaCar

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-Hosted By: MamatheFox

Winner will receive:

A PlasmaCar in winner’s choice of in-stock color! A $69.99 RV!

PlasmaCar is a ride-on toy that uses the natural forces of inertia, centrifugal force, friction and of course all that power your child has stored inside. I really appreciate that you don’t need any batteries to operate this car. You also don’t have to mess around with gears or pedals. Your child can sit back on their patented safety seat and enjoy their fun ride! You can use this indoors or outdoors, but it’s best (no matter where you use it), to be on a flat surface. Great for ages 3+ and up to 220 lbs! That’s right, if mom and dad want to give it a go, no worries! I know I did!! 
Open to the Continental US and Canada. Must be 18+ to enter.
Giveaway Dates ~ 9/8 12:01 AM EST through 9/30 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

When Friendship is Easy

I wrote something for a fellow blogger recently.  In the piece, I talked about how much pressure there is on women to do everything “right” in our society.  I even feel pressure from other women to squeeze in “me” time.   A lot of times, for me, making time for the “me” time causes more stress than the “me” time relieves.  Frankly, as a working Mom, my time with my kids feels limited.  I generally don’t want to spend my time off away from them.

I used to be better about making time for girlfriends.  My Mom and I do something, just the two of us, maybe two or three times a year.  My best friend comes through town once or twice a year, and I get to spend a little time with her.

It’s bad.  I need to do better.  But, it becomes just one more thing I need to do.  I’m tired.

I planned to go and see my best friend, who lives three hours away, last May.  But, my daughter had to have a tonsillectomy.  The summer was busy, but I had it in my mind that we would get there this year.

Mission Accomplished!  On the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, the kids and I left for our road trip, and we returned Sunday night, leaving me with one more day off at home before I had to return to work.  It was so nice to spend time with her and her family, and for her to spend some time with my kids.  I guess it shows that it doesn’t have to be just “me” time to spend time with friends.

On Monday, I got to spend 2 1/2 hours with another old friend.  I have known both of these ladies since Junior High School.  I kind of hate to admit that we are talking over 30 years.  Wow.  When I left my friend’s house on Monday, I thought about what a wonderful weekend it had been, getting a chance to spend time with two of my girlfriends.

What also struck me was how easy it was.  I’m an introvert, so small talk is tiring to me.  But, on Monday, my friend and I talked for over two hours straight and I’m sure we could have talked for more than three times that if life wasn’t calling.  Unlike the feeling of being drained, that I so often feel when interacting with people, I felt energized.  I found myself wondering why.

It makes me realize why I’ve stayed in touch with them over all of this time.  They want what is best for me, and I for them.  But, there isn’t a lot of advice giving.  Just listening.  I love that.

Is it easy because we’ve known each other so long?  They have seen me at my dopiest and nerdiest, during my times of worst judgment, but also at my best.  There is no fooling them, so I suppose I don’t waste the energy trying.  They have been there for me, in the joyous times and the devastating times.

Is it because we don’t talk that often?  We don’t get on each others’ nerves because we are truly only spending quality time?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m blessed to have a couple of other girlfriends who also come to mind.  Memorial Day weekend, 2016, my husband, the kids and I went to see my old college roommate and her family had a party for us!  When my brother passed away, a very old friend (we’re talking since the age of 3) watched my kids during the funeral service, even though I hadn’t talked to her in quite a long time.

Please understand, it’s not that these people do things for me that makes me feel warmly toward them.  It’s the love I feel from them, that’s shown in these gestures.  Sometimes, the gesture is just simply making time.

We find ourselves appreciating different things as we get older.  You’ve probably heard that saying – people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I’m so grateful for my girlfriends who have been willing to hang around for a lifetime.

 

 

 

Christmas in August

I love Christmas-time.  I have been known to shop for Christmas presents in October. . . maybe even earlier.  I know, some people dread that time of year, but I really enjoy it.

That said – I do not enjoy how unorganized all of my Christmas decorations are!  Many years of collecting, packing and re-packing, and moving have resulted in boxes of ornaments wrapped in very old newspaper, in no particular order.

I like decorating, but last year, I had such a mess going on in the living room that it put a damper on the enjoyment!  We recently finished our basement (mostly) and I am finally trying to organize the unfinished, storage part of the basement.  I decided to get my Christmas decorations in order.

Our tradition is to buy a new ornament whenever we go on a trip, and one with the year on it each year.  After 10 years together, we have accumulated many ornaments!  I already had quite a few from when I was single.

When Christmas is over, I like to leave the tree up until New Years Day.  Then, I just seem to be in a mad dash to get everything put away.  While I’m decorating, and unpacking, I am thinking, when I put this all away, this time, I’m going to do a better job of keeping it neat and organized.  But when that time comes . . . nope.  Just as messy, maybe more so, as the year before.

So, about a week ago, I decided to finally get the situation under control.  I’m sure you’ve seen different ornament storage containers.  It would definitely be possible to devise my own.  But, I knew that was never going to happen – so I bought two.  They hold up to 112 ornaments, and I could use a third, even after putting some ornaments in a box to give away.  I might be a hoarder!  But, in my defense, we have a 9-foot tall artificial tree, and it takes a ton of ornaments.  Also, the spaces for each ornament are kind of small.  Fortunately, there was a way to expand them.  I did not actually fit 112 ornaments into each container.  But I did fit a bunch!

I found the ornament storage units on the Bed, Bath & Beyond website.  These “Real Simple Solutions” (I love that name!  The simple solutions are always the best.) boxes were perfect.  Easy to put together and easy to use.  I have received no compensation for this post!  I wish!

You can see all of the boxes and newspapers in the background. I needed these!
The directions were pretty straight-forward, and, as I mentioned, the boxes and dividers were easy to put together.
Small ornaments fit very well with the inserts used, as directed.
Adjusting the inserts makes it possible to store larger ornaments.

While it might seem strange to tackle the organization of Christmas decorations in August, somehow, with the stress of the holidays far away, it was pressure-free.  I feel I am on the way to finally getting my basement organized.

Do You Really Think this is a Fluke?! Come On!

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 finally happened today.  Some people thought it was one of the most incredible experiences of their lives.  Others were underwhelmed.  I was in between.

This has been a topic of interest for my family for a little while.  We thought about going to Southern Illinois to see the total eclipse, or at least driving to Springfield, IL, where the eclipse would be about 95%.  We decided it wasn’t worth the drive, and watched it from home.  Here, the moon covered approximately 90% of the sun.

The day before the eclipse. Making sure we’re prepared.

My parents did drive down to Southern Illinois.  I haven’t spoken to them about it yet, but I am grateful that they ordered these glasses for us, or we would have missed out big time!

We had heard it would be overcast, so we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to see anything.  Around 11:40 AM, when it was supposed to start, I decided to just take a look.  The sun was visible through the clouds, but it wasn’t apparent that anything strange was going on.  When I put the glasses on, I could see that the moon was beginning to cover the sun.  We spent the next two hours watching.

Since it was not a total eclipse here, it got somewhat dark, but from what I have heard, nothing like the sensation of being in the path of the total eclipse.  I’ve heard that it was amazing.

So, today I have been thinking a lot about the universe and how incredible it is.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about how the size of the moon, and the size of the sun, in relation to their distances from each other, and then from the Earth make a total eclipse possible.  The moon has to be just the right size and distance from the sun to perfectly cover it.  We, then, have to be just the right distance to view this phenomenon.

I may have first had this pointed out to me by Frank Turek.  I’m sure I didn’t come up with it on my own.  I got to wondering – what is the ratio of the size of the sun compared to the moon?  What is the distance that makes this possible?  So, I did a little Bing search, and found the answer on a couple of different websites.

The strange thing is, while I was searching for facts to talk about how God’s existence is undeniable, I happened upon a website that said just the opposite.  It’s a post about eclipse hunters.  These people found the sensation so wonderful the first time they experienced it, that they wanted to experience it again and again.  So, they travel the world to observe as many total eclipses as they can.  Here’s the post:  Eclipse Chasers – Esquire.

Here’s the quote:  “And it’s all to see something that’s a total fluke. Our moon’s diameter is almost exactly 1/400th that of the sun’s, while the sun is about 400 times farther away from the Earth than the moon—so they appear to be the same diameter in the sky. It’s a complete coincidence, and it’s one that won’t last forever.”

Really?  A complete coincidence?  I don’t believe in coincidences.

Purple Fingernail Polish . . . and Other Life Lessons

I remember a girlfriend of mine having a girls’ night a while back.  Quite a while back.  I’m guessing 15 years ago.

She was kind enough to set up self-manicure stations for us around her dining room table.

It was kind of her, but I was ungrateful . . . complaining about how all of the polish was “sparkly” and there was no way I could wear them to work.  I was quite snotty about it, saying none of the options were going to work for me.

I was a Regional Manager and dressed very conservatively.  I followed all of the rules of a professional.  Whose rules?  I really can’t answer that.  Some rules I had established in my mind that said sparkly fingernail polish was not acceptable.

In the last five to ten years, as you know, anything goes with fingernail polish.  When blue and green polish became the norm, I was pretty uncomfortable with it.  Being a child of the 80’s, it brought back memories of the punk rock era.  It didn’t seem like something adults should be doing.

When I saw one of our local celebrities, who generally dresses conservatively and is in her fifties, wearing blue fingernail polish, I knew it was just my hang-up.  Still, I couldn’t bring myself to wear anything but pink, red, shades of beige, and when I was feeling really daring, grey.

Last Saturday, my son was invited to his friend’s house for most of the day.  It was a good opportunity for my daughter and me to have a girls’ day.  The only time I’ve had a manicure was in preparation for my wedding.  I thought it would be fun for us to go get our nails done together.  It was fun, and not very expensive at all.  We may have to make it a regular thing.

I told my daughter we would get matching fingernail polish and she could choose.  She chose super sparkly green.  Sorry – couldn’t do it.  She ended up choosing purple, which was still too bold for me, but I went along with it.

Long story short, I didn’t sit under the dryer long enough, and I ruined the polish on my pinky putting my seat belt on.  Doh!  I ended up putting magenta on that nail.  Now I was really daring!

I did get a lot of attention related to my fingernails.  Generally, positive.  But, being an introvert, perhaps the increased attention is part of the reason I stick with my old-fashioned shades.

I can get away with a little more daring in my current job, because it’s a casual environment.  What this whole purple polish experience has revealed to me is that I can be pretty uptight about some things that really don’t matter.